WHITE PAPER PREPARED BY HIGHLAND FINANCIAL TOPIC: GROUP INSURANCE

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1 WHITE PAPER PREPARED BY HIGHLAND FINANCIAL TOPIC: GROUP INSURANCE 1

2 In the wake of the global financial crisis implementing strategies to maintain and improve an organisation s growth has become an absolute priority for many companies. One way to give an organisation a better chance at sustained growth is to ensure that their employees are happy and productive. And while trying to keep everyone happy isn t always possible, implementing policies and programs that give back to the employees are one way to boost morale and increase belief in the organisation. One of the most effective policies or programs that an organisation can introduce is group insurance. This straight forward solution offers solid advantages to both the employee and the organisation. Introducing group insurance for your employees is basically implementing a company wide income protection policy for all employees. Income protection is an insurance policy that offers to pay up to 75% of an employee s salary if they become seriously injured or ill. Shouldn t an employee s superannuation include income protection? You would like to think so, but not all super products are created equally. When Choice of Fund legislation was introduced in 2005 it gave employees the freedom to select which superannuation fund will receive their employer contribution. Unfortunately, differences in product offering can leave some employees without income protection and exposed to risks like having to sell their house, or not being able to support their family if they become seriously injured or ill. So, why would an organisation do this? Why would an organisation want to provide this type of insurance for its employees? You are protecting your employees and therefore helping to protect your company s largest asset - your intellectual property When you decide to take out a group insurance policy for your organisation you are protecting your employees and therefore helping to protect your company s largest asset - your intellectual property. You are also protecting the money invested in recruiting and training those employees. As 2

3 a result of this you are also potentially protecting your shareholders from a drop in share price. Unfortunate circumstances do arise bad things do happen to unsuspecting people. So what would happen if you had an employee who became seriously injured or critically ill? While Workcover can pay for work-related injuries, serious illnesses like cancer may not be considered a workplace incident and the employee is then left to fund their own medical expenses. Trying to do this without an income could be an insurmountable challenge. Don t risk staff backlash As an organisation you will have to decide to either retain this person, or replace them. Terminating the employment of a seriously ill staff member could result in backlash from disgruntled staff members and very low morale. This disruption in morale can lead to low productivity, counter-cultures and financial loss for the company. Short term solutions create long term pain Terminating staff because of illness or other unfortunate events can drastically increase the cost of training when new employees are hired and you run the risk of the terminated employee seeking employment with a competitor when they have recovered. All that time and money spent training an employee only to have it end up as an asset for a competitor. What a waste! These types of losses can be prevented with group insurance. This 100% tax deductible income protection policy allows an organisation to insure against this type of loss from which it can take years to recover. As an organisation you are also able to offer your employees an easy, cost free insurance solution to help them expect the unexpected. So how does Group Insurance work? Group insurance provides income protection which offers to pay up to 75% of an employee s income should they become seriously injured or ill. Policies do vary, but generally it consists of eligibility criteria, exclusions, a waiting period and a benefit period. 3

4 Eligibility normally refers to the conditions that govern whether or not an employee is eligible to be covered by the policy. These conditions can include a minimum amount of hours worked per month, working conditions, age brackets, Australian residency status and so on. Exclusions refer to the conditions that exclude an employee from the policy and will typically outline incidents like self-inflicted injuries, suicide and preexisting conditions. The waiting period is how long an employee will have to wait from the time they are unable to earn income, to the time when income protection insurance payments can commence. These waiting periods can be set from 14 days through to 120 or more days. Choosing a longer wait period can result in lower premiums, however we live in a society where many people exist from pay to pay. It may be unsustainable for an employee to not receive an income for any length of time. Before settling on a waiting period, it is best to consider the varying degrees of financial stability through your workforce. The benefit period is the maximum amount of time an employee will receive payment from income protection insurance. This period starts once the waiting period has expired. The benefit period for income protection can be set for a range of periods. It can be set for a nominated length of time, e.g. one year or five years, it can be set for a nominated age, e.g. 55 or 65, or it can be set indefinitely, i.e. an employee will receive payments from income protection insurance until they are ready to return to work. It is very important to remember that a longer benefit period will result in a higher premium for your group insurance. Choosing a benefit period is difficult as you are preparing for a worst-case scenario. It may be safer for both your organisation and your employees to insure for a longer period of time. How much does Group Insurance cost? Group insurance premiums should be just under 1% of a company s total payroll cost. And it s tax deductible! When compared to what you could be risking by not insuring employees, this is a very affordable strategy. Add in that the cost is 100% tax deductible and 4

5 it s easy to see why Group Insurance is one of the best policies to introduce to your organisation. However, there is a lot to consider when purchasing a group insurance policy and it is very important to speak with someone experienced in this field who can guide you through the various elements of an insurance policy. Highland Financial work with large organisations everyday helping them to protect their assets, including their employees. They can do the same for you. To find out more about Group Insurance contact Highland Financial for your obligation-free consultation. This editorial provides general information only. Before making any financial or investment decisions, we recommend you consult a financial planner to take into account your particular investment objectives, financial situation and individual needs. At Highland Financial we work with clients everyday to help protect the assets they have worked hard to build and we can do the same for you. Contact us today and make appointment. Phone , or Web: Highland Financial Pty Ltd Corporate Authorised Representative Charter Financial Planning Ltd ABN Australian Financial Services Licensee License Number

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